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Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation: Opportunities and challenges of OECMs for biodiversity conservation

The article evaluates the opportunities and challenges that OECMs offer for biodiversity conservation. OECMs, or “other effective area-based conservation measures” have been included in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), composing the Aichi Target 11, and are being considered in the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

To inform this discussion, we gathered in-depth perspectives and expert elicitation on the opportunities and challenges that OECMs offer and present to biodiversity conservation. To do so, we conducted semi-structured interviews with experts involved in OECM-related deliberations. The explicit consideration of OECMs in conservation policy represents a recognition that there are sites outside of formal protected area networks that benefit biodiversity and ecosystems in important ways. However, these benefits and the future social and ecological impacts of OECMs will depend largely on robust guidelines for their identification, effective monitoring, and whether relevant actors report the areas they govern as OECMs.

Flowchart showing the positive impacts for nature and people of recognizing areas as an OECM

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